The wheels of justice will start turning in San Joaquin County once again, albeit slowly.
On Thursday, the San Joaquin County Superior Court in Downtown Stockton will once again reopen in a limited capacity after being closed for more than six weeks to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus. It was one of a number of ways in which the operations of local government was drastically cut back to protect the general public and those that work in San Joaquin County’s tallest building.
While the Lodi and Manteca Branch courts will remain closed until at least July 6, a number of courtrooms in Downtown Stockton will once again become operational starting on Thursday, including:
*Department 3A which handles name changes and restraining orders, although it will be closed for criminal misdemeanors.
*Department 5C which will be open for arraignments and further proceedings on bench warrants for and petitions for violations of probation, community supervision, parole, and in-custody DUI arraignments. Out of custody DUI arraignments will be continued until after July 6.
*Department 7A through 7D will be open to continue hearing preliminary hearings, Department 8A will be in trial, Department 8B will be open after remote arraignments end on Thursday, Department 8C will be open and Department 8D will continue to hear preliminary hearings. Departments 9A and 9B will open as needed.
Family law is currently limited only to urgent matters being handled in-person while all other matters are handled telephonically, and one of the three juvenile justice courts will remain open while another will be on standby as necessary. Juvenile traffic court has been halted until further notice.
All traffic cases in San Joaquin County are rescheduled until early July at 120 days from the date of the scheduled appearance.
The self-help center inside of the courthouse is closed until further notice for in-person visits, although online assistance is available for those needing help filing necessary court paperwork. The clerk’s office will remain closed to the public even as the courthouse opens in a reduced capacity, although there are drop boxes outside of the Stockton courthouse and the Juvenile Justice Center in French Camp for filings that need to be processed.
The only people who will be allowed inside of the courthouse will be attorneys, parties and defendants, minors and minor parents, law enforcement, those picking up or filing restraining orders, witnesses, and couriers. All who enter the courthouse must submit to a temperature scan, and those refusing to do so – or those with a temperature reading of 100.4 degrees or higher – will be refused admission into the facility.
While California law required many court proceedings to be held in public, Governor Gavin Newsom instituted temporary rules that allowed for many legal proceedings to be handled telephonically while facilities were closed to the public to protect the inmates, court staff, and law enforcement officers from the spread of the virus in a confined area.
For additional information visit www.sjcourts.org.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.